OR4: Organic conversion - horticulture

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the organic conversion - horticulture option.

How much will be paid

£400 per hectare (ha) per year, for up to 2 years.

Where to use this option

Available for Countryside Stewardship Mid-Tier and Higher Tier Rotational Whole or part parcel

Only on:

  • land registered as ‘in conversion’ with a Defra-licensed organic control body by 15 May in the year when the option starts in the agreement
  • arable land, temporary grassland or on permanent grassland where cultivation is part of the conversion plan

Where this option cannot be used

  • On parcels that have previously been registered with an organic control body by the applicant
  • On parcels for which you’ve previously received conversion aid

The Organic management, – horticultural land option (OT4), should follow on from this option, when the organic conversion period is completed. Other Countryside Stewardship options and supplements relevant to arable and rotational land management may be used on the same land area where eligibility rules allow.

How this option will benefit the environment

It helps to convert rotational land used to produce vegetables or salads into organic status land. If successful there will be an increase in the overall area of land used to produce organic products.


If you’re selected for a site visit, we will check that delivery of the aims is being met and the prohibited activities have not been carried out. This will ensure the environmental benefits are being delivered.

There will be at least 1 horticultural crop in each field parcel. There will be a maximum area of 20ha of this option in the agreement.

During the rotation at least 40% of the area entered for this option will be in horticultural production.

Using the Conversion plan as agreed with an organic control body, for the land and associated stock, Organic standards will be followed from the start of organic conversion to the end of the agreement.

All land will complete conversion and be registered as ‘fully organic’ before the end of the agreement.

Prohibited activities

To achieve the aims and deliver the environmental benefits, do not carry out any of the following activities.

  • None

On your annual claim you will be asked to declare that you have not carried out any prohibited activities.

To assist you in achieving the aims and deliver the environmental benefits for this option, we recommend that you use best practice.

We recommend that you:

  • maintain the total hectarage (area) that was committed to at the beginning of the agreement for the whole of the agreement
  • keep at least 40% of the area entered for this option in horticultural production with produce for human consumption at any single stage of the rotation

Keeping Records

Where there is uncertainty about whether the aims of the options have been delivered, we will take into account any records or evidence you may have kept demonstrating delivery of the aims of the option. This will include any steps you’ve taken to follow the recommended management set out above. It’s your responsibility to keep such records if you want to rely on these to support your claim.

  • A copy of the conversion plan agreed with the organic control body
  • A fully completed viability plan and evidence land is improved permanent grassland or rough grazing

If you have undertaken a viability assessment with your application, you must start your organic conversion process and submit a copy of the conversion plan (agreed with the organic control body) if requested.

You will need to supply a valid organic certificate and schedule for all the parcels entered into this option on your annual payment claim if requested. The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will not request the above information if you have already supplied it for a Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) claim.

Additional guidance and advice

The following advice is helpful, but they are not requirements for this item. Permanent ineligible features may be eligible as part of the option area if registered with a control body.

Further information

Read more information about Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier and Higher Tier to find out more about the scheme and how to apply.

Published 2 April 2015
Last updated 9 February 2021 + show all updates
  1. Option updated for agreements starting 1 January 2022

  2. Information updated for applications in 2016.

  3. First published.